On Australia Day at the Sydney Sevens it was a full day of Pool matches for the HSBC Women’s Seven Series with the Men’s series playing their first round pool matches.
In the HSBC Women’s Seven Series it was fast furious on the field at Allianz Stadium with three teams heading to the Cup finals unbeaten.
The biggest surprise of the day was Japan beating England but the host team Australia, targeting a second straight tournament win after victory in Dubai, made the most of a vocal national holiday crowd and remained unbeaten on day one after victories over Spain, PNG and France. Canada, who won the tournament last year, came through a tough pool to also remain unbeaten.
Rising Australian star Emma Sykes said, “I was so focused on the matches that I almost forget it was Australia Day. We started slowly against Spain first up but we finished the match strongly, the girls were really sharp, and we continued that form into the other two matches. “
New Zealand showed their class conceding just one try on their way to three wins. Kiwi flyer Portia Woodman scored 10 tries including a hat-trick in all three of her team’s matches to take her all-time series hat-trick tally to an amazing 11.
“Can’t say I have done that before as I am not keeping count but it shows how strong the girls are going as I am seeing a lot of the ball,” said Woodman.
“It’s still only day one and we had a game plan to make all our up front tackles and commit on defence. So we are happy but this happened in Dubai, we beat USA in pool play but day two came and we lost to them. Day two is a different story and we need to play just was well tomorrow,” added Woodman.
The Women’s Cup quarter-finals will see Australia play Spain, Canada play France, New Zealand play Ireland and USA play Russia. Papua New Guinea, England, Fiji and Japan will contest the Challenge Trophy semi-finals.
In the Men’s series there were comfortable wins in first round action for reigning series champions South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand. Match of the round saw Australia beat USA 26-19 with England, Argentina, Scotland and France also winning their first matches.